Barcelona Dragged To Court For Allegedly Bribing Referees
Barcelona has been taken to court over “illegal” payments made to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, a former vice president of Spain’s referees’ committee.
Earlier in March, it was revealed that Barcelona allegedly paid Negreira and a company he owns a total of 8.4 million euros (£7.4 million) between 2001 and 2018.
The charges of “corruption,” “breach of trust,” and “false business records” against Barca, former club officials, and Negreira were made public in court in Barcelona on Friday.
Several legal actions were brought by the Barcelona public prosecutor’s office against the club, and the club’s former presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell.
The public prosecutor’s office said, “FC Barcelona obtained and maintained a strictly confidential verbal agreement with Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira so that, in his capacity as vice-president of the technical arbitral committee (CTA) and exchange for money, the latter carries out actions tending to benefit FC Barcelona in decisions by the referees.”
In February, La Liga CEO Javier Tebas said that if former organization president Joan Laporta is unable to explain the payments, he should quit.
Three days earlier, Laporta had stated that he would not “give Tebas what he’d like by standing down” and that his team had “never paid referees.”
“Let it be clear Barca have never bought referees and Barca have never had the intention of buying referees, absolutely never,” he said on Tuesday.